Birmingham City 1-1 West Bromwich Albion Player Ratings: Kieftenbeld impresses

Michael Morrison and Harvey Barnes challenge –

It was a familiar story for Birmingham City against West Midland neighbours West Bromwich Albion on Friday night; they created plenty of chances, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with the promotion contenders. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Birmingham City

Lee Camp – the goalkeeper has faced criticism from Blues fans, especially after a poor display at Nottingham Forest at the end of August and once again, he might have been disappointed to have been beaten at his near-post for the equalizer. Wasn’t otherwise tested too much, with the visitors registering just two other efforts on target. 4

Maxime Colin – the right-back has shown signs of re-discovering his impressive partnership with former Brentford colleague Jota, thanks to some adventurous runs down the flank. He did that well again in the first half; after the break, it was more a case of holding his position as Blues pressed and broke quickly without needing full-back support. 7
Michael Morrison – the centre-back was arguably Birmingham’s best player against QPR; he defends his box and simple aerial balls very efficiency. He lacks the composure in possession required for the modern game and that is sometimes reflected in his distribution, but it is perhaps too late in Morrison’s career for him to evolve his game. Everything he realistically can do, he did well in this match. 7
Harlee Dean – the ex-Brentford defender is possibly the best signing Birmingham have made in the post-Rowett era, largely due to his impeccable leadership qualities. Did well to keep Rodriguez and Gayle largely quiet in the first half, although maybe he committed to his challenge prematurely in the lead-up to Phillips’ goal. 6
Kristian Pedersen – the highly-rated left-back’s arrival from Union Berlin, against FFP regulations, could yet have repurcussions for Birmingham. He is, perhaps, yet to truly show his value on the pitch; after a lively start he began to find life difficult against Phillips and was perhaps partially at fault for the equalizer, kicking the ball against the wing-back when trying to clear. 5

Jacques Maghoma – the all-action wide man, who is just as comfortable on the right as he is on the left, is never found wanting for the energy and here that was in evidence again. His limited end product though is part of the reason why Birmingham have struggled for goals this season; he had just one shot in the first half and that was blocked. Sometimes caught too far up the pitch out of possession. 6
Gary Gardner – has slotted into the midfield with more ease. Sprayed some nice passes out to the wide areas and played in a pin-point delivery that led to the opener, whilst showing no reluctance to get stuck in. 7
Maikel Kieftenbeld – Blues fans must be delighted that Kieftenbeld’s deadline day move to Derby failed to go through on time last year,  because the tough-tackling midfielder has been excellent so far this season and he put in another high-intensity display. 8
Jota – the Spaniard has improved significantly under Garry Monk and his star performance against Swansea last month showed that Blues have, potentially, a real asset at this level. Enjoyed a bright first half, putting in good deliveries and showing good movement for the goal, but his body posture prior to his penalty might have revealed where he would place it. Greedy on one or two occasions in the second half when he could have looked for his teammates but there was no doubting his influence on the team going forward. 7

Che Adams – the former Sheffield United forward is forced to compete with Omar Bogle for the role of support striker for Lukasz Jutkiewicz; his goal, after coming off the bench at Nottingham Forest last month, helped his cause. Here though, Adams blazed over from close-range shortly before the interval, then after saw a low shot saved, but he did link up nicely with Jutkiewicz before being taken off. 6
Lukasz Jutkiewicz – despite Birmingham’s shortage of goals, Monk’s faith in the target man has not changed; mainly because there is not another striker in the squad who can win aerial duels and here he consistently did that at the back-post, setting up both the opener and Adams’ big chance. He get into goalscoring positions as often as one would like from a centre-forward, but an admirable shift nonetheless. 7

Omar Bogle (on 73) – the former Solihull Moors striker, who has scored 114 goals in 247 games at various levels, has a great opportunity to establish himself as a solution to Birmingham’s goalscoring crisis but he needs to start getting more involved because currently, Adams looks the better option. 5

Viv Soloman-Otabor (86) – the academy graduate enjoyed a productive loan spell last season at Blackpool, where he scored a few impressive solo goals. He looked bright in his brief cameo but is, perhaps, unlucky that more proven performers like Jota and Maghoma are playing well. 6

West Bromwich Albion

Sam Johnstone – the Manchester United academy graduate was one of the best goalkeepers in the Championship while at Villa in 2017-18, so his arrival represented a coup for Albion and he showed his value when he read Jota’s penalty well. Also did well to smartly deny Adams early in the second half. 8

Craig Dawson – the defender wasn’t flavour of the month with Albion fans at the start of the campaign, perhaps due to the way he had handled a possible move to Burnley. The ex-Rochdale man has since knuckled down though to displace Tosin Adarabioyo, although he might have been disappointed to be beaten aerially at the post on one or two occasions. 5
Ahmed Hegazi – the Egyptian bailed his teammates out with one or two important headers early on, but his lack of composure in possession was always problematic for West Brom, who are trying to play out from the back under Moore. On this occasion, Hegazi was arguably West Brom’s best ‘defender’ in the traditional sense, but also the one least suited to Moore’s game plan. 5

Kyle Bartley – the centre-back had a relatively successful loan spell at Birmingham in 2013-14 but here, he wasn’t quite as aggressive or tight to his man as Moore would have liked. A surprisingly below-par display. 4

Matt Phillips – the wing-back’s pace, drive and quality down the right flank is key to a lot of the Baggies’ better attacking moves and, for his goal, he showed the adaptability to threaten by cutting inside. Not only that, he stuck to the task defensively and was not afraid to put a challenge in. A key player. 8
Jake Livermore – on this occasion at least, it was difficult to see precisely what Livermore was bringing to the team. He’s never been the most accomplished passer of the ball or the most mobile or intelligent forward runner, so the only argument for having him in that midfield was his defensive awareness; too often, the ex-Hull man switched off. 4
Chris Brunt – now 33, the 11-year serving player has even less pace than he used to, so Moore has tried to use his footballing brain in a central role and, when space opens up in the middle third, he has shown the wherewithal to pick out decent passes. When Albion are on the back-foot though, sometimes he lacks the athleticism and diligence to make his presence felt and certainly he didn’t close down as quickly as the defence might have liked. 4
Conor Townsend – the 25-year-old was very well-regarded at Scunthorpe and is, perhaps, unlucky to be competing with a former Arsenal left-back in Gibbs. He got his big opportunity here though with his competitor hindered by a virus, but he will have been disappointed not to track Jota for the goal. Blazed narrowly over from distance in the second half. 5

Harvey Barnes – the Leicester loanee has lit up the Championship so far with several sparkling displays, but this wasn’t one of them.  Anonymous in the first half but early in the second, he showed good movement to see one shot from the 18-yard line saved; then came alive in the final 10 minutes when he hit the bar. In some ways, his productivity was almost impressive, relative to the limited amount of possession he saw in good areas. 6

Jay Rodriguez – after five full seasons in the top flight, the forward has proved he can be an asset in the Championship with four goals to his name already; he was, however, given few opportunities to add to that tally, with just eight touches in the first half before being taken off in the second. 5
Dwight Gayle – the poacher trebled his seasonal tally with a spectacular brace against Stoke last time out and is, once again, proving an instinctive finisher; although quiet, he still got into some dangerous positions from Phillips’ crosses on occasions. Could have caused more damage if West Brom had been playing on the front foot. 5

Hal Robson-Kanu (on 75) – the Welshman certainly showed willing in his appearance, but whether Moore sees him posing quite the same goal threat as Gayle and Rodriguez in future games remains to be seen. 6
Gareth Barry (on 78) – the veteran, who has made more top flight appearances in the Premier League era than any other player, offered an element of composure but his lack of mobility means he shouldn’t be considered a genuine solution to Albion’s midfield issues. 6